Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Carry On

Serendipity opened the Time machine door. “Uh-oh.” Her big brown eyes got bigger.

The ghostly wail of distant sirens filled the air. The sound made Sherman’s skin crawl.

Wendell stuck his head out and his pale face went even paler. “Dear God, woman! Are you mad? Why did you bring us here?”

Sherman looked out. They appeared to be in an alley. It was night and there was no illumination except searchlights panning the sky.

Serendipity looked sheepish. “I take it this isn’t the coronation of Elizabeth the second?”

“Bloody hell! This is the London Blitz.” Wendell voice sounded almost scared.

“Are you sure?”

A nearby explosion affirmed that.

Suddenly a bulldog of a man dressed in a suit and bowler came around the corner of the building into the alley and ran toward them. “Leave that door open!”

“What?” Serendipity looked confused.

The heavy-set man pushed the middle aged couple with him into the time machine. The skinny man wore a military uniform and the small woman had on a lavender dress with a large hat. Both looked a little anxious, but their upper lips were stiff.

“We may not make it to the Underground in time,” the burly escort told his companions. “You’ll be safest in here.” He turned to some men following. “I’m sorry but there’s no more room. You go on to the station and find shelter. I’ll guard them with my life.” He jumped in. “Close the door!” He ordered Serendipity. She obeyed.

The woman gave them a sheepish grin. “We do apologize for the intrusion. Thank you so much.”

“Y-yes, th-thank you,” the man with her nodded. “You are performing a g-great service.”

The woman glanced around. “I like what you did with your Anderson Shelter.”

Sherman whispered to Serendipity. “You haven’t disguised the Timemobile yet. They see a metal box and must think it’s an air raid shelter.”

She shrugged. “I can hardly kick them back out with the bombs.” She turned to Wendell. “Right?”

“I-I-I-,” Wendell stammered, his eyes huge as he stared at their guests.

“Oh dear,” said the woman, sympathetically. “Take a deep breath and let it out. It always helps Bertie.”

Wendell just stood there with his mouth open.

Another explosion came again, this time so close it shook the time machine.

Serendipity shook her head. “Well, we sure as hell can’t stay here. Strap in folks.”

“I beg your pardon?” the woman asked.

“Sit down and do the seatbelt. Help them, Sherman--Wendell.”

Wendell shook himself out of his apparent shock and took the lady’s arm. “I do apologize for the familiarity, ma’am. Please sit down.”

He did her strap, while Sherman took care of the skinny man in the uniform. Their burly escort caught on fast and sat down and did his own seatbelt.

Wendell sat down in the last seat. “Hang on!” he told Sherman. The teenager didn’t argue but grabbed onto the back of the chair, as Wendell threw his arm around Sherman’s skinny waist.

“Hang on, folks! It’s a bit of a bumpy ride.” She jumped into Wendell’s lap and threw her arms around him. Wendell didn’t look upset about the arrangement.

“R-ride?” the man in the uniform looked confused.

The time machine shook like it was being bombed. The woman screamed, then clamped her mouth shut. The three strangers grabbed the arms of their chairs. Wendell hung onto Serendipity with one arm and Sherman with the other. After several minutes they came to a merciful stop.

“Okay, we’re out of harms way.” Serendipity announced bouncing up. “You are all safe. You can get up.”

Their guests fumbled with their straps.

“What just happened?” the man in the bowler demanded.

“Yes,” Wendell stood up to frown down at Serendipity. “Do you have any idea what just happened?”

“I got everyone out of harm’s way?”

“You just kidnapped King George the sixth and his consort, Queen Elizabeth, as well as Prime Minister, Winston Churchill!”


The dowdy matron suddenly turned tigress. “You will not take us alive!” Elizabeth pulled a small pistol out of her handbag. “I’ll have you know I practice every morning and I hit Hitler’s picture squarely between the eyes. We will not be guests of the Third Reich.”

Serendipity just grinned. “Ooh! You got spunk! I like that.”

Wendell bowed. “I assure you, your majesty, we mean you no harm. Perhaps kidnap was too strong a word.”

Winston Churchill stood up, glowering. “I ask again, what just happened?”

This time Sherman spoke up. “This is a top secret experimental transport device.”

Churchill frowned. “I’ve never heard of it.”

“It’s really top secret.”

“You are all safe!” Wendell assured them. He turned to Serendipity and whispered. “I’m afraid to ask where we are.”

“My workshop, 2353,” she whispered back.

Wendell rolled his eyes. “I was afraid of that. Perhaps you could transport them back to Buckingham Palace. Their Buckingham Palace.” Then he turned to the royal couple and spoke up. “Has the palace been bombed yet?”

“They hit us last month.” Elizabeth nodded.

“Good. Erm...I mean it should be safe now, since it was only hit...Erm...that is to say I‘m sure the Germans won’t hit the same target twice.”

“J-just w-what is going on here?” King George did not look convinced.

Elizabeth put away her gun. “It’s all right, Bertie. They seem too pleasant to be Nazis.”

Serendipity wrinkled her nose. “Nazis? Bite your tongue!”

Wendell raised his eyebrow. “You do not say ‘bite your tongue’ to the Queen.” He bowed to Elizabeth. “I do apologize for my companion. American, you know.”

Elizabeth frowned. “Yes, although she does seem nicer than that dreadful Simpson woman.”

“Who?” Serendipity frowned.

“Wallis Simpson.” Wendell explained. “The woman King Edward VIII threw away the crown for, then left his little brother holding the bag.” Wendell turned to the royal couple. “Although completely unprepared to take the throne, you two are doing an admirable job of it. Indeed perhaps we should all thank Mrs. Simpson for putting you two in charge instead of your silly older brother. I’m sure he would be hiding in Canada now, instead of sticking it out in London as you two have. You are inspiring your nation to ‘stay calm and carry on.’ Great Britain owes you both a debt of gratitude.” He turned to Churchill. “You too, Prime Minister. History shall remember you all fondly.”

Churchill grunted. “Probably not. At least not me. There are plenty that want to forget about me now.”

Serendipity grinned. “Heck, no. Even I’ve heard of you and I’m from the 24th cent--”

“Shhh!” Wendell turned around and hissed at her.

“Uh, 24th district.” She tried to catch her fumble.

“Shall we get these folks back home?” Wendell nudged.

“Right. Coordinates for Buckingham Palace?”

Wendell pulled out his pocket Bible and clicked his tongue. “+51° 30' 3.63", -0° 8' 29.71” He put his computer back in his pocket. “We’ll have you there in just a tick, your Majesties. Please pardon any inconvenience we may have caused. Quite accidental, I assure you.”

“You have the coordinates for Buckingham Palace?” Churchill looked very suspicious.

“Erm...It’s just a pocket atlas.” Then Wendell frowned. “That’s not exactly top secret knowledge, now is it? Surely you don’t think me a spy? I would sooner die than betray my country. And I would never let any harm come to anyone as critical to history as you three. I love Britain and these hallowed shores!”

“If you start waving a Union Jack and singing ‘God Save the King,’ I'm kicking you out!” Serendipity muttered.

“Better than snogging one of your American Founding Fathers,” Wendell mumbled back.

Serendipity rolled her eyes. “I’m sorry I ever told you about Benjamin Franklin and me. Shall we get theses people back or did you want to make them a cup if tea first?”

“Carry on, Dr. Brown.”

"Carry On? Does that mean I get to sit in Winnie's lap on the trip back?"

Wendell just gave her a stern look.